Notes from the Road – Ruta Maya Coffee House – Austin, Texas Last night I dropped in on another legendary acoustic music venue in Austin - the Ruta Maya Coffee House. It is located in an eclectic arts center just southeast of downtown. The complex houses Clear Channel Radio (5 stations broadcasting from one location), a Gibson Guitar showroom of vintage instruments, arts instruction in acting, writing, etc., a theatre and a playhouse, and more. Very Interesting architecture makes the center worth arriving early and strolling about. We even sat in on a few minutes of an acting / screen writing class. Whereas the Cactus Café is more of a straight up singer-songwriter venue, Ruta Maya is very counter culture and off beat - think Austin Coffee and Film in Winter Park times twenty (both in size and vibe). The stage is huge (I did remember the camera this time, but can’t download the pic’s from it until I get home) with a back of the room full time sound engineer who records your mini set if you like for a $5 donation – great sound. The room is huge, kind of warehouse style with high ceilings and open duct work, pipes and wiring. In addition to the first floor seating there is also a balcony over the bar area that itself would seat at least 30 or more. The house band opens the open mic and will back anyone in the OM that wants them to – they are quite good, though as you might expect their style tends toward modern rock, punk, etc. However, I heard them back some much more delicate styles of music very well and could see they were clearly excellent, well rounded musicians. Tuesday night at Ruta Maya is kind of a “double open mic” – it starts with a poetry OM from 6 – 9 and music from 9 – 12. We got there a little early and caught a few of the poets. Some were actually quite good while others seemed intent on finding all the possible rhymes for the F word – bongos and berets would have been appropriate for some. I’ve seen a couple of bumper stickers out here saying “Keep Austin Weird.” Well, these folks were doing their part. My 3 song set went very well. I played On the Other Side, One Last Selfish Act and This Old House. If the recording turned out decent, I’ll post it so you can check it out. I did not have the band back me (seemed a little risky on original tunes), but a couple of the band members tracked me down afterwards to get names and emails, compliment me on the tunes and take a long, loving look at my Collings OMH2. I suspect that the former was merely an intro to the latter. Nevertheless, I had a great time and recommend Ruta Maya to you if you’re out this way. Tomorrow night – Cheatham Street Warehouse. Stay tuned. All the Best – Doug